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The New York Civil Liberties Union's Reproductive Rights Project (RRP) has published a new palm card and poster that inform mothers of their breastfeeding rights in New York State.
RRP will distribute the palm card to hospitals, day care centers, midwifery and birthing centers, health clinics, and parental support organizations across the state. The cards will be provided to organizations that request it.
State civil rights law provides that women have the right to certain information on breastfeeding following child birth, and that a woman may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private. Moreover, under a new law passed in New York last year, women have the right to pump breast milk at work. Yet, women who breastfeed in public are often hassled or threatened with ejection, and many women face opposition or discrimination when they attempt to pump breast milk in the workplace.
“Public health experts and state law agree that families who choose to nurse their children should be able to do so whenever and wherever necessary,” said Galen Sherwin, RRP director. “Our new palm card is a tool to help parents exercise this important right and confront discrimination anywhere it occurs, whether it be in a public place such as a park, at a business or in the workplace.”
RRP, the only New York State-based legal organization that focuses on reproductive rights, has a long record of upholding New Yorkers breastfeeding rights. In September 2006, RRP represented a mother who was harassed by Toys R Us employees while breastfeeding her infant son inside the chain's Times Square store. Toys R Us apologized to the woman and informed all of its employees that nursing women may breastfeed their children inside its stores.
In July 2007, RRP represented a woman who was harassed while attempting to breastfeed her infant son while inside the Manhattan showroom of Fossil, Inc. As part of a settlement, the company apologized to the mother and issued a statement affirming the right of mothers to breastfeed inside its stores.